POLITICS

South African Reporter Provides The World With A Lesson On Interviewing

06/21/2010 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

Andrew Sullivan and Radley Balko point their readers in the direction of this astoundingly wonderful confrontational interview between Chris Barron, of South Africa's Sunday Times, and Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo.

Barron is apparently the sort of reporter who dispenses with pleasantries very quickly:

Is Joburg ready for the World Cup?

I think we are

What about the potholes?

We are addressing that problem.

What about the trenches that are left open for months for people to fall into?

Hey, yeah! What about those dangerous, gaping trenches? "That's one of the big problems," Masondo replies.

The interview goes on and on like this, with Barron angrily interrogating over piles of trash that are just laying all over the city, and "blocked stormwater drains," and the lack of good public transportation: "The current mayor of London goes to work on a bicycle...Do you think you might use a bicycle one day?" The whole thing concludes with Barron directly questioning Masondo on his legitimacy as a public official:

Do you know of any other world-class city where an unelected mayor has been in office for 10 years?

Unelected? What do you mean by that?

That you haven't been elected.

I'm sure you know that the political system is different in South Africa. I get elected by the councillors of Johannesburg.

In other words you're deployed by the ANC, not elected by the people?

If you want to criticise the ANC and bash it, do so. But don't try funny tricks. That won't get us anywhere.

I get the feeling that Barron isn't too concerned about cultivating "friend-sources" to give him "scooplets."

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